Horror can come in all shapes, sizes and seasons. Take Winnebago Graveyard, for instance, which started in June and wraps up this week. The series focuses on a family road trip that takes a nasty turn once Satanists are in the picture. You know, the all-American vacation!
We spoke to series artist Alison Sampson before Winnebago Graveyard premiered and have loved it right to the very end. With the series ending this week, we wanted to ask Sampson a few “exit interview” questions to talk about the end of the series and what she has coming up next!
AiPT!: Winnebago Graveyard ends this week, how are you feeling?!
Alison Sampson: I will miss it, but Steve has written a ‘good’ ‘ending’ and I’m happy with where we are. I set out on this wanting to get an exciting readable, accessible, strong story and we have that. For creator-owned book creators it is not all over, either. We’ve got to put the collection out and that work falls to me- design, production, marketing, bookplates, commissioning extra material, it is a work in progress right now. I think the graphic novel is the long-lasting thing we will have made and deserves attention.
AiPT!: Did you ever surprise yourself when creating this work with writer Steve Niles? Did he ever surprise you!?
Sampson: Steve has written a lot of horror and I came to the project with an open mind as to what he might ask me to draw, so I was quite hard to surprise. But, like everyone else, I’m reading the story as I get the script, so essentially, I get the same effect as you do, albeit in a different form. So yes. I think I also probably surprised him. I asked him not to hold back, and he didn’t. This is my first series and it was very demanding to draw (lots of real and sometimes very specific vehicles, a large cast, set in the real world, named after a space, so plenty of those, monsters, and an evil defined only by actions, setting and demeanor not faces, and a lack of reliance on dialogue), so to get through it was known, but what it would look like was not known.
AiPT!: This is a great summer horror comic, but I wonder what the experience will be like for those in the cold air of fall. When can readers expect to see the collection on store shelves?
Sampson: November 22 in comic shops and November 28 in bookshops and on Amazon/in libraries. Don’t we all like to think of our holidays in the midwinter? Aren’t darkening evenings a good time to consider the nameless horror? I hope we’ve made a story with some legs and that it will just be enjoyable to read (in that kind of way) at any time, that it will be a good ‘holiday book.’ It, to some extent, isn’t a complicated thing: self-contained graphic novel with something… different in it. Sometimes the most scary things are best read at a remove. I’m also trying to get Image to do a ‘red velvet’ cover so it should be a nice thing materially too.
AiPT!: Was there anything you learned, or did your art grow in any way while creating Winnebago Graveyard?
Sampson: Everything and so much. It is an intensely narrative book (the story is largely told in the art and there is a lot of that).
AiPT!: If Winnebago Graveyard gets turned into a film or TV show, would you want it to be created by any director in particular? Do you have any ideas how they could translate your art to the screen?
Sampson: This is not something I’ve yet thought of–my prime aim was to tell the best story I could in the medium I am dealing with. But. I do think we have a good story. It can be a bit campy and it is… very graphic… but there are themes to explore here, many of which are super current (I worried if it was OK to show the faces of my ‘nameless other,’ but clearly U.S.-based neo-nazis did not have the same worry), so it might be quite interesting. I would like Ben Wheatley to get his hands on it, but I feel he undertakes very personal projects, so beyond that I do not know who would be right. John Carpenter, obviously. Alejandro Jodorowsky? Michael Winterbottom in his first horror film? Tomas Alfredson directed the original Let The Right One In and he could do it, I’m sure. He can hit a tone.
The art translation is a funny question and I hope there is a director who could use it. I personally think it is possible, as, if I can draw it, they can film it. I’d like it to be done in a way where the visuals are not overtly comic booky, but some of what I’ve been able to put into the art is there. But it might be a queasy experience for viewers–but perhaps that is the point. I’d love to talk to a director or cinematographer about this, actually, I’ve not considered it, but it is interesting.
AiPT!: What are you up to now? And what can fans look forward to from you in the comics realm?
Sampson: Finishing our trade, marketing the book, three major comic conventions including Thought Bubble and New York Comic Con, taking on a small amount of decent paying illustration work, and deciding which thing to do next, first. I want to get started on a new comic but I desperately need a short break from being nailed to my desk, for the sake of my health. The aim is to be back on it, with focus, early next month. There are licensed characters I’m interested in working with (Jessica Jones, The Vision, anything written by Chelsea Cain and other interesting writers) and if Marvel asked me, if I can do it, I will. But creator-owned work does pay, even in a very hard market, and it is nice to stretch the bounds of what can be possible. I’d probably like another challenge soon. Bring it on, as they say.
AiPT!: Thanks so much for creating such a wild and fun horror comic!
Sampson: Our pleasure.
You can purchase the final issue here, or preorder the Winnebego Graveyard collection at Amazon today at the link below: